by Nicolle Huffman

December 1, 2020

This is part three in a four-part series about planning your 2021 marketing communications initiatives.  Click here to read more.

As you start thinking about ways to plan your marketing communications efforts for 2021, thought leadership is a great place to put in some effort. Based on research from eMarketer, marketers will have a keen focus on content post-COVID-19. For example:

  • 6% of marketers are going to adjust the tone of their messaging and positioning
    • What better way to do this than with your owned content!
  • 7% of marketers are going to build up executive thought leadership programs
    • What are you waiting for?

Additionally, thought leadership helps build brand awareness, build expert status and generate and nurture leads.

Because the one thing that hasn’t changed in 2020, is that content is still king. But how do you start generating thought leadership content?

Below is a quick guide on how take a step back, look at your current thought leadership content and shape your overall strategy to reach your 2021 goals.

1. Review the analytics of your current thought leadership content

Take a look at your current thought leadership pieces and identify which ones have high pageviews, time on site and a low bounce rate. We recommend establishing a benchmark; something like, more than one minute on the page, over 250 pageviews and a bounce rate of less than 80% (this is dependent on your individual website and its performance). By identifying the content that performs above those benchmarks, you will quickly be able to see what current content is engaging viewers, and maybe offer some insight into what isn’t working.

2. Categorize your thought leadership content

Now that you know what’s performing well and what’s not, for the thought leadership content that is performing well, identify themes. Were they all about culture? Did they include lists? What insights can you glean to help guide future posts?

Sometimes there is thought leadership content on your site that is performing really well, however, it is outdated or the bounce rate is through the roof. For those pieces, it’s worthwhile to take a look at them and figure out ways to update it and make it fresh.

Outlining these themes can help guide your thought leadership editorial calendar for 2021.

3. Assign and attack

Now that you know the themes of top performing content and have identified some old content that could use a little love, share this with your blog team. For anyone manages thought leadership content, we all know the major headache to content generation is “I just don’t know what to write about.” To that, you finally have an appropriate response, “Well, here you go, Sally! Please update this blog post from 2015 and make it relevant for 2021. Or here are five topics that are resonating with our audience. Build on it!”

Another thing to do with well performing content is to promote it again. Was there a piece that had amazing performance, but it was a couple months ago? Share that content again!

Now that you have identified content that performs well, you can work smarter instead of harder.

This identification and organization process will help you establish goals, review, optimize and create better content to help you achieve your marketing communications goals. If you need help conducting a thought leadership content audit, let me know. I’ll ship some Insomnia Cookies your way and we can talk over Teams.